Leeds' Italian star Giuseppe Bellusci could return to his homeland in the January window

By Alex Stevens

Steve Evans has revealed Giuseppe Bellusci will be in contention to return to the Leeds squad for next Saturday’s Championship clash against Charlton.

The centre-back, who has been a mainstay of the defence this season, was surprisingly omitted from the matchday 18 for the 2-2 draw at Hull on Saturday.

Manager Evans said pre-match doubts over the fitness of both Gaetano Berardi and Lewie Coyle – the player to replace Berardi following the injury he sustained at the KC Stadium – was the reason for Bellusci being overlooked.

Bellusci was fit for selection at the weekend but did not make the cut and was left behind as Leeds travelled to Hull, where they extended their unbeaten run to four games, in which they have accumulated 10 points.

Evans explained why the 26-year-old had not been selected in the squad when fit for the first time since Evans took charge at Leeds last October.

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“We had a little bit of illness with Gaetano and Lewie so we had to utilise one player on the bench to cover two positions,” Evans said, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“Scott’s trained very well and he’s a very accomplished centre-back. He can play either side at full-back so it’s nothing more than that. Peppe will be seriously back in contention for Saturday (at home to Charlton Athletic).”

Asked why Bellusci had not made the short trip to watch the team, Evans said: “We only travel with 18. He wasn’t here, Casper (Sloth) wasn’t here and (Souleymane) Doukara wasn’t here.

“Away from home, those boys (players left out of the 18) aren’t here. But if we’d been at Elland Road he’d have been there for sure.”

It has been a chastening few weeks for Bellusci, who has started only one of the last five Leeds matches following costly blunders in consecutive Championship matches last month.

In other Leeds news, Evans has admitted he has changed his mind about one Whites outcast.